Personal, Pre-Surgery

Why I Chose a Red Cochlear Implant Processor (Instead Of One That Would Blend In With My Hair).

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Image Credits:

Advanced Bionics Pinterest 

I’ve been getting a little bit of backlash lately from people when I tell them that my cochlear implant processor is going to be bright red. Big surprise: the people making the comments have no hearing impairment and will never have to make this kind of decision or understand what it’s like. Of course. In any case, here are some of my favorite comments I’ve gotten over the last few weeks:

  • But it won’t match your hair.
  • What if you have a job interview? They might look down on you for that.
  • What if you have a formal event like a wedding to go to?

Or my absolute favorite, simply:

  • Why?

And here are my answers to those comments:

  1. But it won’t match your hair.

Uhm, so what? Who cares? But no seriously. That almost sounds really vain to me. Do people really care that much? Maybe I don’t want it to match my hair. I actually really really really really don’t. I wore hearing aids for 22 years and I didn’t have the option of choosing different colors. They are now starting to make more of them in colors, but the ones in colors still are nowhere near as powerful as I’d need it to be. I’m excited to have the ability to choose now. There was no way I was going to waste my choice on a boring neutral color. I knew I wanted red from the moment I saw it. So what if it doesn’t match my hair. News flash: even if it did match my hair it wouldn’t turn it invisible. People will still see the headpiece and wire and ask about it anyway. Honestly, I WANT PEOPLE TO ASK ABOUT IT. I’d love to tell them my experience with it and what it does. I want to spread awareness about hearing loss and cochlear implants. And I feel like when people try so hard to hide their processor or the fact that their deaf it’s just wrong. That makes it sound like its something to hide or be ashamed of. It’s not. There’s nothing at all wrong with being hearing impaired or deaf. You should never be ashamed of it or feel you have to hide it. I want my processor to stand out and to wear my cochlear implant proudly. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

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Image Credits: Bright Drops

Also, I really enjoy dying my hair. I have no intentions to dye it bright red anytime soon, but I do alternate between blonde, brown, and auburn from time to time. If my goal was to match my hair, I still wouldn’t know which color to choose.

2. What if you have a job interview? They might look down on you for that.

First off, I already have a full time job as an inbound marketer/social media marketer at WebiMax. I really love my job. I have been here for about 15 months now and have no intentions on leaving anytime soon. My boss and co-workers and everyone is awesome and they have been extremely supportive of me in my cochlear implant journey. I’m pretty sure no one cares if my processor is red. Everyone has been pretty excited about the fact that it will help me to hear. It’s going to do amazing things and open new windows of opportunities for me, like possibly giving me the ability to hear on the phone and be able to take client calls or to actually hear everyone speak when we have a team meeting. I’m pretty sure these positives far outweigh what some people would consider a negative aspect of having a red processor…

But let’s say down the road I do have another job interview for a different company. My processor is bright red. So what?

No really… so what?

I shouldn’t feel the need to have to cover that up or hide it or be ashamed of it at all. It’s a COCHLEAR IMPLANT PROCESSOR. IT HELPS ME TO HEAR. It shouldn’t be viewed as being on the same level as say a tongue piercing or a sleeve of tattoos or whatever. Having a cochlear implant, even if my processor is bright red, shouldn’t make me appear any less professional. If anything, I’d argue it should make me look more professional for taking my hearing impairment in my own hands and wanting to do something about it so I can take on more rolls in the workplace that I can’t currently do like hearing on the phones.

If any potential future employer has a problem with my red processor/cochlear implant, that says far more about them than it does about me. It says that’s not a place I want to work for after all.

3. What if you have a formal event like a wedding to go to?

I’ll be super excited! I don’t get invited to weddings very often. And all of the ones I ever been to in the past (there was only 2, my good friend Ashley’s and my cousin Stephanie’s) I haven’t really been able to hear much of anything. SOMEONE PLEASE INVITE ME TO A WEDDING AFTER MY ACTIVATION JUST SO I CAN HEAR PEOPLE MAKE A TOAST, EXCHANGE VOWS, AND ALL OF THAT JAZZ FOR THE FIRST TIME. No, but really.

Uhm if I get invited to a wedding or a formal event I’ll wear a pretty dress and heels, do my hair and makeup and nails all nice, put my processor on, and have a great time where I’ll actually be able to hear people for once. End of story. Just like with the job interview thing, if whoever invites me to the wedding/event or whatever has a problem with my bright red processor well than I guess they aren’t a real friend or it’s not an event worth going to anyway.

And also, I’m 24 and unmarried. I’d like to get married maybe 5 or so years down the road. So what about my own future wedding? Well right now I have a boyfriend who is the best. He’s been with me every step of the way with this and he’s very excited about me gaining the ability to hear. He doesn’t care the slightest bit about me choosing a red processor. He hasn’t said a whole lot about that, but he doesn’t have to. If I asked him “What do you think about my red processor?” I know what his answer would be: “I like red.”

We’ve only been together for 2 months. It’s way too early to even be thinking about marriage let alone discussing it. But if we do end up getting married, he certainly won’t mind me wearing my red processor on our wedding date. He’d encourage it. Because he’s an amazing boyfriend and that’s what amazing boyfriends, or anyone worth marrying would do. If the person I’m marrying in the future has a problem with me wearing a bright red processor to our wedding, well that’s not someone I would want to marry at all.

4. Why?

Why not? No really… why not? Red has always been one of my favorite colors. They make a ton of red electronics now. I’ve had a bright red laptop and cellphone in the past that would match and no one thinks anything of that. Why is my processor any different? It kind of blows my mind that people who will never have the need to get a cochlear implant or wear a processor care more about this than I do. I’m the one that has to wear it and I like red and I want to stand out! It’s like my favorite deaf rapper always says…I want to be deaf and loud! I want to make a difference in the hard of hearing/deaf communities. I want to spread awareness. I don’t want hearing loss to be a taboo. If you’re so focused on blending it or being discreet with your implant/processor than you’re just further feeding into the assumption that hearing loss is something to be ashamed of. I’m not at all saying people shouldn’t get a processor to match their hair or blend in. Not at all. I think people should do whatever makes them happy and having a red processor is what’s going to make me happy. (To be honest, I really wanted one with zebra stripes but that wasn’t an option. I’ll be looking for a zebra striped cover to put on it down the road though…). I think that no matter which color you choose, you should wear that processor and cochlear implant with pride. Never be ashamed of the person God made you to be.

So now I have this to ask of you…any more questions? 😉

15 thoughts on “Why I Chose a Red Cochlear Implant Processor (Instead Of One That Would Blend In With My Hair).”

  1. You really owe no one an explanation, and I think you should be whomever you want to be. In contrast, I dyed my early graying hair for almost 40 years, but now wear my gray tresses very comfortably. I do match my CI with a white processor which many think is just so cool that I didn’t get a “flesh” tone. Whatever, right? I love how some people attach glitter or jewels to their processors. Go for it! Like they say, just be you, everyone else is taken!
    Mary at http://www.deafgrayanditalian.wordpress.com

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I definitely want to decorate mine more with jewels and all too! It’s a fun way to be a little creative and take pride in your CI!

  2. I’m a teacher for children aged 3-5 who all have a hearing loss and use hearing technology. I was so upset on Picture Day, because the mother of one of my students sent in a note saying “remove the hearing aids before the pictures are taken”. What kind of message was that sending her 5 year old daughter? I didn’t remove her hearing aids….I wasn’t going to take part in telling this little girl who was so proud of her sparkly red ear molds that she couldn’t be photographed in them. Good for you for choosing red!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thank you so much for your comment and making a difference in the lives of HOH/Deaf children! That’s definitely something I’d love to get involved with in the future and it sounds like you’re doing an awesome job! I agree — the kids should be allowed to wear them with pride! I wish I could have red sparkly ear molds for my hearing aids too!

    2. when my son was 3, we had family pictures taken, and the photographer asked if we wanted our son’s hearing aids removed. we were floored that he would even ask. my husband’s response was priceless. he wears glasses, and asked the photographer if he felt glasses needed to be removed as well or only hearing aids! the same year, my son’s preschool teacher told us that all of the parents in the class had been asking what david wore in his ears because their children kept asking for some…david has always worn colored aids, and chosen exciting/fun molds; it seems the other children were enthralled and wanted some too. that is the story i love to tell! 🙂

      1. Your husband’s response is awesome! That’s the same kind of thing my mom would say, too. Kudos for your son for being such a rock star, too! It’s great to see him wearing bold ear molds proudly and even becoming a trend setter in the process!

  3. Awesome, awesome, awesome blog post! LOVE, love, love it! I’m right there with you along with my zebra striped processors (I have multiple covers for my processors). I would love to feature this blog (your post) on my company’s blog. Would you be interested? If so, Please contact me. Again, what a great post and thank you for writing it. I’m sharing it with pride!

    1. Also..I just wanted to let you know that I’m a CI and hearing aid user, an audiologist and auditory-verbal therapist. I found your blog so inspiring. So thanks again for writing it!
      Warmest Regards, Karen

    2. Thank you so much for your comment! I’d love to get the zebra covers some time down the road too. I love everything zebra print lol. I would be honored to have you feature my blog post on your company’s blog. I hope that it will help to inspire others. Thank you so much for your sweet comments!

  4. Thank you! My 8 year old daughter wears hearing aids (zebra print, by the way!), and I’m always in the market for great role models like you. I will be sharing this post with her! Keep in being your awesome self and enjoy your red processor!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I hope it helps inspire your daughter! Zebra print hearing aids are awesome! I wish I could have that for mine, too!

      1. It does inspire her! She wanted to leave a comment to you… Here’s what she said: “Thank you for sharing that with us. I like that you want other people to feel good about their hearing loss and not afraid or ashamed of it!”

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